Nissan Unveils ZEOD Racer for Le Mans

Nissan has unveiled a fairly spectacular-looking electric racing car concept to compete in next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race. The ZEOD will occupy the ‘Garage 56’ slot - a class of one for cars utilizing new and innovative technology – and is the spiritual successor to the DeltaWing that earned its stripes at last year’s race.

The ZEOD – standing for Zero Emissions On Demand – will use a combustion engine alongside the same battery technology found in the humble Nissan LEAF. Although Nissan is yet to settle on the car’s final drivetrain arrangement, as an experimental racer the ZEOD isn’t held back by the competition’s normal regulations. The ultimate aim is to complete an all-electric zero emissions lap of the 8.5-mile long Circuit de la Sarthe at race pace.

As the car itself isn’t finalized there is a lack of concrete performance figures, although a top speed of 185mph is being touted, as is a sub-four-minute lap at Le Mans.

To stand any chance of achieving such goals using electric power alone the ZEOD will have to be astonishingly efficient, making every kW of power count. The old DeltaWing had a drag coefficient of 0.35 – incredible for a car that was competing in top-echelon endurance racing – and the ZEOD will likely surpass that figure. The car’s designer, Ben Bowlby, was also responsible for the iconic DeltaWing and the new car features the same narrow track and extreme cab-rearward profile.

Achieving success at Le Mans next year would be nice for Nissan, but the real objective is to develop electric technology for its road-going cars further and investigate how a driver might be able to switch between pure electric and engine-powered drive.

Electric racing is currently attracting a lot of attention and investment. Lord Drayson's B12/69EV previews technology for the upcoming Formula E racing series and Aston Martin recently raced a hydrogen hybrid Rapide S at the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

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